Snapchat, feeling the heat, will let users opt out of compromised feature

New controls will let people stop themselves from being searchable based on their phone numbers

Snapchat's app on iOS.
Snapchat's app on iOS.

Snapchat, reeling from a recent hack that exposed millions of user names and partially redacted phone numbers of its members, will now let users back out of the feature that hackers abused.

The company also said it would improve some mechanisms, including a tool known as "rate limiting," to combat future attempts to abuse its service.

In August, security research group Gibson Security warned Snapchat of a flaw in its "Find Friends" feature that could allow account details such as user names and phone numbers to be leaked. Last week, the group published proof-of-concept code showing how Snapchat's API (application programming interface) could be abused to expose that information. Then, on New Year's Day, a group of hackers paired the phone numbers with the user names of more than 4.6 million Snapchat users and posted them online. The hackers said that they could complete the partially redacted phone numbers if people asked them to.

The "Find Friends" feature gives people the option of giving Snapchat their phone numbers so other users can find them, if they're in their friends' address books.

In a blog post on Thursday, Snapchat said it would update its app to let users get out of the Find Friends feature so they could no longer be found through their phone numbers. Snapchat did not say when the change would be coming, and could not immediately be reached for further comment. Snapchat also did not say what it would do with the phone numbers of the people who subsequently opted out.

In its latest blog post, the company seemed to distance itself from a previous statement that took a more casual tone toward the incident, instead sounding more serious around its security.

"We want to make sure security experts can get a hold of us when they discover new ways to abuse our service so that we can respond quickly to address those concerns," Snapchat said. Last week, the company acknowledged the concerns, but characterized them as being more theoretical, given other safeguards put in place over last year.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Fear not: It's only a robot

Every time I pass through the automated border controls at the Sydney airport I walk away with a feeling of exasperation on the one hand and relief on the other. Exasperation, because the face recognition technology inevitably always fails to recognise me. Relief, because we seem to be safely years away from the Orwellian reality of states controlling every aspect of our lives; something the media is keenly warning us against each day.

Dan Kalinski

CEO, iProspect Australia and New Zealand

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

I worked at Momentum when the transformation started way back in 2013 (not 2015 as stated in the article). It was a painfully slow and co...

Jay

How Momentum Energy has transformed its entire business to be customer-led

Read more

Another buzzword thoughtlessly latched onto, without any thought for the implications on the organisations that have to lumber through th...

Tired

Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more

Useful., also don’t miss out on these 5 features of Adobe Experience Cloud - Visit here > http://www.softcrylic.com/b...

Sunil Joseph

Adobe debuts Advertising Cloud, Experience Cloud

Read more

the systems that run these things are teachable just like a car, theres stuff still yet to come out to bring up the automation grade, b...

Magnus Robert Carl Wootton

Fear not: It's only a robot - Big data delivery - CMO Australia

Read more

Marin Software’s digital marketing solution as a short way of streamlining and finding a scalable solution...

Al Drazhev

How BizCover is boosting search advertising success

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in